Wind gusting to 79 mph spreads fire near Wetmore, Colo.

Wetmore Fire, 235 pm MT, October 23, 2012
Map, approximate perimeter of the Wetmore Fire, 10 pm MT, October 23, 2012
Map showing approximate perimeter of the Wetmore Fire, 10 pm MT, October 23, 2012. Click to enlarge.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. MT, October 24)

Extremely strong west-southwest winds gusting up to 79 mph caused a wildfire to spread rapidly just south of Wetmore, Colorado, 22 miles west of Pueblo. The fire was reported at 1:32 p.m. MT on Tuesday and at 4:45 it had burned 700 acres. The Colorado Office of Emergency Management reported at 1 p.m. on Wednesday the fire had burned 2,200 acres and 14 residences had been damaged or destroyed.

The map above shows the approximate location of the fire at 10 p.m. Tuesday night; click on the map to see a larger version. A more detailed map is available HERE.

A local television station, 9News, is reporting that at least 12 structures have been damaged.

Approximately 378 homes have been evacuated in Greenwood, Wetmore, and east of Wetmore into Pueblo County.

Colorado 96 is closed westbound from The Pueblo Reservoir south entrance to Wetmore, and Eastbound from Colorado 165 to Wetmore. Colorado 67 is closed southbound from County Road 15 to Wetmore.

A weather station 4 miles east of the fire on Tueday recorded sustained wind speeds between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. of 25 to 47 mph, with the strongest gust measured at 79 mph. Between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. gusts of over 60 mph were recorded for each hourly weather observation. The relative humidity ranged in the afternoon between 9 and 14 percent while the temperature was in the low 70s. The winds slowed considerably Wednesday morning, at 4 to 9 mph with gusts to 16 and the humidity increased substantially.

The spot weather forecast for the fire area includes a red flag warning from noon on Wednesday until 7 p.m. The humidity will drop into the teens and southwest winds will gust up to 50 mph.

A Type 2 Incident Management Team is en route.

More information about evacuations.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

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